31 May 2006

Support for calls for relaxation of immigration rules between Samoas

3:32 pm on 31 May 2006

The general manager of StarKist Samoa, Brett Butler, says there needs to be more discussion on the immigration laws and some relaxation on restrictions.

This follows a call from the editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer Group of newspapers that people should be able to travel more freely between American Samoa and Samoa.

Mr Butler says 85 percent of the cannery's workforce is Samoan and the tighter restrictions introduced last year have had an impact on recruitment.

He says there needs to be some changes made.

"We can be creative about what alternatives there are but I think it's just opening communication lines, sitting down, perhaps relaxing certain laws, monitoring people differently in terms of the immigrants that are coming on island. I mean those are the sorts of things we could sit down and discuss in how we can operate more efficiently here."

Mr Butler says while there would be a burden placed on infrastructure, it would also mean a larger tax revenue base for the government and a more readily available workforce.